We recently had a power outage that lasted 5-1/2 hours. When I called in to report it at 8am, they said the outage had happened at 6:50am and that it should be fixed by 10am.
11am rolled around – slowly, I might add – but still no power!
It’s near-freezing weather here in Washington state, so as the powerless morning wore on, the temperature inside the house dropped closer to the temp outside the house.￼ Okay, the lowest it got in the house was 63°, but that’s still really cold – for me, anyway.
Getting more active via some housework or exercise￼ would have been smart, but I tend to shut down when I get cold, and I had NO inclination to be smart￼. My gumption had frozen up, and there I sat in my chair, in a mental, emotional, and physical standstill. Or more like sit still.￼
In our family’s texting group, and I told them about the power outage, and my son-in-love came back with “Start a fire!” Great idea, but easier said than done! For one thing, there was no firewood inside the house. It’s still Autumn, so we aren’t set up for fires yet. So I knew that if I went outside to get wood, it would involve opening the sliding glass door and letting a goodly amount of freezing air inside, which would push the temperature down in here even more. Plus I had been holding out for the power to come back on “anytime now.“
But the cold hard fact was that it wasn’t coming back on, and I was just getting colder and colder.
￼￼Dave would normally start a fire, but he was gone fishing. So I finally realized that it’s me or no fire/no warmth. Unless I got a fire going, I could become like one of the those frozen guys that some hunter on a horse up in the snowy mountains finds leaned up against a tree, frozen stiff, rifle in their arms (which did them no good because they were too dead to use it,) staring blankly ahead with icicles hanging off their eyebrows, hat, and beard. I just couldn’t do that to my family.
So I got up and grabbed one of the ugly but wonderful fire starters I made last summer – Here are a few of them…
They’re made out of burnable (not styrofoam or plastic) egg cartons, melted candle wax, dryer lint, and used fabric softener sheets. As you can clearly see, I’m not exaggerating when I say these are ugly. Just so you can see even more closely just how ugly these are, here’s a closer-up picture of one…
As I said, these are absolutely ugly, but the level of ugliness is far outweighed – outshined – by how handy they are!!!
I opened up the fireplace insert door and realized with great delight that Dave already had set up three logs in there! So I just lit one of these ugly little buggers and set it under one of the logs, and within a couple of minutes a nice warm fire was crackling! No kindling, no repeated attempts!!!
For some time, the fire burned strong. But eventually, as all fires do, the logs burned down to mere red-hot embers. Here’s what I saw when I opened the door again… (The room was dark due to the power outage, so the pictures aren’t the clearest.)
Apart from each other, the burned-down, emberish logs were losing their fervor and, if left unattended and spread out, would have eventually died out sooner than they otherwise would have.
So I grabbed the fire poker-sticker thingy and pulled all those smaller burning pieces together, and within seconds, it turned into this…
A lesson started coming to light…
A fire stays burning much more efficiently when the pieces of wood – the burning embers – are close together.
And embers, far apart, cannot stay burning nearly as long.￼
I have been in several of the small coaching groups that Heidi and Christina ￼lead, and there is a whole lot of “fire lighting” and “kindling” that goes on in those groups.￼ In them, we pull together, sharing the fires – even if just embers – in our hearts with each other.
Sometimes we come to a call feeling almost (or maybe fully) ￼burned out, but as we interact and share in the group, we get reignited and all warmed up again. And the vision the Lord put in our hearts burns brighter. This is just a natural result of pulling closer together.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says it beautifully, and in three ways:
“But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
I can’t even tell you how many times I have stumbled in one way or another on the Thin Within path, and not even wanted to come to the group or to a coaching call because I felt soooooo… dumb, foolish, like a failure! But I went anyway, (I have made a commitment to come every time, no matter how I’m doing or feeling), and have discovered time and time again… every time… that Heidi and Christina and the others in the group have hearts only to help us get back up! To push us closer to Jesus and to our sisters who I realized were in the same boat as me! Never a heart to condemn, nor to belittle, nor to “rub my nose in it” – only to help me get back up!￼
“Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
Of course we are not literally getting in bed together in these groups, but the basic principle is the same: ￼In walking this journey together we keep￼ much warmer!￼ In these groups, our hearts are warmed, the icicles on our vision melted.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”
Spiritual warfare is huge in this journey, and with all of the God lists, praise fests, Scriptures, testimonies shared vulnerably out of their own lives – instead of being overpowered and defeated by our own sin, shortcomings, and failures, instead we come to each others’ defense in the spiritual realm – where we know the battle is really fought!￼￼￼
So for me, these groups fan the flame in my heart for Jesus, for wanting more of Him, for sweet and deep-meaningful fellowship with my sisters, and for keeping my vision from burning out! 🔥
Go to this page to find out when the next small-group coaching session starts!!!